Top 25 Women Who Are Empowering Women

They’re running companies, selling out venues, filibustering in pink sneakers, and (maybe) becoming the next president.

25. Kathy Griffin

Fearless comedienne. Loud mouth. Has recorded more stand-up comedy specials than anyone, ever.

24. Jessica Valenti

Founder of Feministing. Megaphone for many. Writes to make the world a more equal place for the half who aren’t male.

23. Tammy Duckworth

Veteran. Champion. Obstacle-overcomer. First disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. First Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois.

22. Joanne Rowling

Author of best-selling book series of all time. Imagination influencer. Created a world in which many of the most notable and powerful characters were female.

21. Cynthia Nixon

Broadway star. Nonconformist. Comfortable in own skin. Passionately supports causes that stand up for women and the LGBT community.

20. S.E. Cupp

Political commentator. Right wing rebel. Leads the charge in voicing the perspectives of many young conservatives.

19. Jada Pinkett Smith

Actress. Outspoken good-doer. “I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are her domain. …Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.” — To critics condemning her parenting of daughter, Willow

18. Kristen Wiig

Comedic genius. SNL alum. Leading lady. “The fact there’s a poster with six women on it, and that’s this crazy thing — it just shouldn’t be.” — On her comedy, Bridesmaids

17. Suze Orman

Teacher. Definitely not a slave to money. Went from waitress to nationally-known financial advisor by making smart decisions and learning from mistakes.

16. Kirsten Gillibrand

Leader. New Yorker. Justice-seeker. Fighting tooth and nail in the U.S. Senate to halt the military’s sexual assault epidemic.

15. Stefani Germanotta

Newsmaker. Inspirer. Mother Monster. “If I was a guy, and I was sitting here with a cigarette in my hand, grabbing my crotch… you’d call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and in my videos, because I’m a female, because I make pop music, you’re judgmental, and you say that it is distracting. I’m just a rock star.”

14. Elizabeth Warren

Reformer. Academic turned senator. Smart cookie. Advocate for consumer protection and economic justice for women and minorities.

13. Mindy Kaling

Actress. Writer. Original. First female minority to create, write for, and star in a major American network sitcom — The Mindy Project.

12. Wendy Davis

Texas Senator. Warrior. Stood in protest of Senate Bill 5, which significantly limits Texan women’s reproductive rights, for ten hours (in pink sneakers).

11. Lena Dunham

Actress. Director. Girl. Not the voice of a generation, but — at 27 years old — certainly changing what it means to be an industry powerhouse.

10. Oprah Winfrey

Lover. Television Superwoman. Spiritualist. Uses global influence to fight sexism, racism, homophobia, animal cruelty, and hate in all of its forms.

9. Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook COO. Author. Driven to succeed. “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies, and men ran half our homes.”

8. Beyonce Knowles

Performer. Powerhouse. Record-breaker. “Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman and I love being a woman.”

7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

AP: MARK SHERMAN / Via news.yahoo.com

Second-ever female Supreme Court Justice. Progressive. Snarky badass. “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.”

6. Rachel Maddow

Television host. Author. Cuban rum lover. Uses the 9pm time slot to express her views and make them matter.

5. Michelle Obama

Health nut. FLOTUS. Glass half-full thinker. Was a lawyer, non-profit organizer, and executive director at University of Chicago Hospitals before becoming First Lady.

4. Lilly Ledbetter

Activist. Game changer. Sued former employer for paying her less than what male employees in the same position were paid. She won.

3. Hillary Clinton

Pioneer. Potential first female president of the U.S. Self-proclaimed hair icon. “There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives.”

2. Jill Abramson

First female New York Times Editor in Chief. Glass ceiling shatterer. Fearless proponent of providing opportunities for women in the media.

1. Amy Poehler

Boston gal. Improviser. Leslie Knope. Creates videos — Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls — giving young women advice on growing up and loving who they are.

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